In recent years the solar shading sector has created a real revolution, doing a lot of experimentation and putting design at the center of industrial production. The sector that has been recognized, even internationally, for its technical quality has changed its strategy by proposing new concepts, and therefore new products, to interpret outdoor living.
“Italian companies have always been a reference in the sector, also from a technical point of view”, says Gianfranco Bellin, president of Assotende FederlegnoArredo. “We were the first to remove the visible screws and we began to tell our production through new themes: in addition to the technological ones: the performance, design, comfort and quality of the environments that we are able to transform. In addition to sustainability, which is becoming the main driver of choices”.
In reality, sustainability has always been the core business of the sector. For those who make sun protection, the correct management of light and energy are the central themes of the project. Now we are moving from passive to active systems. “We are witnessing the launch of photovoltaic bioclimatic pergolas” (system presented in these days by Gibus, a company of which Gianfranco Bellin is managing director, Ed.).
“Our sector was a forerunner in this sense”, continua Bellin. “The application of photovoltaics was implemented, for the first time, more than ten years ago, but we were out of time, too early and with unsustainable costs. The application of this technology on new products is synergistic: it allows us to protect from the sun by means of custom-designed structures and, at the same time, we produce energy”.
The sun protection sector benefits from the deduction for efficiency measures, the Ecobonus at 50% (with a maximum amount of expenditure of 230 euros per square meter); the agreements with the banking institutions allow you to assign the credit and have an immediate discount on the invoice without having to link the installation of shielding systems to a driving intervention of the Superbonus 110%. “We have moved in this direction”, confirms the president of Assotende, “to allow us to intervene on external areas, including residential ones, benefiting from the reliefs. Never as in the pandemic period have we felt the need to live outdoors, comfortably and in quality spaces”.
The availability of access to an electric recharge on the move, of our devices and the means we use to move around, is an increasingly widespread request. Giving an integrated response to a construction system also means looking to the future of our cities.
Thinking about when this is happening in urban centers, Bellin confirms: “The municipalities, both in Italy and abroad, after this test area accelerated by the health emergency that has upset the use of public spaces equipped for being outdoors, are making considerations about the future and the need to regulate the presence of structures and areas dedicated to the outdoors, codifying their aesthetics and regulating their uses. There is a lot to do with enormous repercussions on the quality of urban spaces and on the attractiveness, including tourism, of Italian cities”.
All of Europe, a market that is of great interest to Italian companies that export over 30% of the product, is a vast field of experimentation with many companies that are working on new technologies and spatial layouts. “International customers”, says Bellin, “appreciate both the construction quality and the aesthetic quality of our proposals: Italian companies are small to medium-sized – a subject that can sometimes be disadvantageous – but they are quick to configure customized and advanced solutions. A theme that often unites us to the interior design sector”.
One of the most interesting sectors for this market is that of Horeca. Not only restaurants and bars, but also the large-scale retail trade which in recent years has implemented sales areas with outdoor dining spaces.
Shielded structures, sometimes closed, illuminated and equipped with sound system. Real open-air environments that have often determined the fortune of shopping malls, increasing their attractiveness and the permanence of the public.
Even the hotellery sector, which is reconfiguring some assets (many business hotels are transforming into lifestyle or apartment hotels) pending the reopening, increasingly offers outdoor breakfast areas and the recovery of high floors, roofs, to make inhabited terraces. with fitness areas as well as living areas.
The shielding sector has a very solid base of technical skills, concludes Gianfranco Bellin. “Our companies produce certified and safe products, which comply with the most stringent international regulations. In recent years, all the brands in the sector have strengthened their technical offices and internal skills for research and development. Proof of this is also the birth of new yarns deriving from the experimentation and recycling of technical fabrics. Polyester yarn derived from PET and a fabric made with acrylic yarn are already available on the market, which can be used again in the protection sector or in fashion, furniture and industry in general. Now we are working on the recycling of PVC”.
l trend – accelerated in the last year – of always being outdoors, even in cold seasons, has brought with it an important evolution in many sectors of furniture, kitchens, finishing products, all designed for the outdoors. A sector that is increasingly permeated by the domesticity of solutions also with respect to integration with home automation systems, IoT solutions, up to the management through voice assistants. It is on digitalization, as well as on energy, that the evolution of this large sector will be played out.